The Loma Prietan - April 2014

Protecting the Forests

Daly City Passes Resolution To Ban Clearcut Logging In California

1st in the Bay Area, 2nd in the State

By Karen Maki

Reporter listens to Daly City Mayor David Canepa, Pamela DiGiovanni, Ann Schneider and Karen Maki. Photo: Shelly Gordon
Reporter listens to Daly City Mayor David Canepa, Pamela DiGiovanni, Ann Schneider and Karen Maki. Photo: Shelly Gordon

Daly City passed a resolution asking Governor Brown and the Legislature to Stop Clearcutting in California.   It is the first city in San Mateo County and the second in the state to pass such a resolution. Davis passed a similar resolution.   It’s part of statewide campaign to stop clearcutting – the damaging conversion of natural forests to tree plantations.  The resolution highlights the negative impacts of clearcutting on climate and water.

Daly City’s Water Department offers free water-saving devices, rebates and school programs for residents, commercial users and students.  The city also has a climate action plan to reduce its carbon footprint. 

“I am delighted to partner with the Sierra Club in making sure that the Governor and the California Legislature take immediate action to prohibit industrial clearcut logging in the forests of California,” said David Canepa, Mayor of Daly City.  “I am also proud that Daly City is the first city in the Bay Area to demonstrate such leadership.”

A growing movement of communities, environmental groups and fishermen's alliances are calling on the Governor and State Legislature to end clearcutting in California and ensure that logging in California is done in a manner that will preserve and protect our fish, wildlife, forests, streams, and carbon sequestration. 

Clearcutting is an ecologically destructive form of logging in which nearly all native vegetation is removed, soils are deep-ripped, and herbicides are applied across the landscape.  It harms water quality, wildlife habitat, and exacerbates climate change. It replaces diverse forests with tree farms that can have a higher risk of catching fire.  Timber can be harvested using a less destructive method known as selective logging, which involves the carefully planned removal of some trees while leaving the overall forest intact. 

What happens in the forests – especially in the Sierras – is important to Bay Area Cities.  60% of Bay Area water is stored in and filtered through Sierra forest watersheds, and 15% comes from the forested Santa Cruz Mountains.   At least 15% of California’s carbon dioxide emissions are sequestered by California forests, and clearcutting both reduces the amount of carbon forests can retain, and releases excess greenhouse gases.

Selective Harvest Forest

Selective harvest forest example

Clearcut forest example

Karen Maki is the Loma Prieta Chapter's Forest Protection Committee Chair.